MANILA (UPDATED) - Eight cities in Metro Manila recorded an increase in COVID-19 cases in the past 2 weeks, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.
Manila, Makati, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Mandaluyong, Malabon, Navotas, and San Juan showed an "increasing trend over the past 2 weeks," DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director Alethea De Guzman said in an online press conference.
Comprising 16 cities and one municipality, the capital region is home to nearly 13.5 million people and was the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the country.
"Ang mga kaso ng nagkakasakit ay lumalagpas na sa daily moving average," De Guzman said.
"Sila 'yung naiiwan na mataas pa either the ICU [occupancy] rate or the HCUR (health care utilization rate)," she added.
Among these 8 cities, Makati and San Juan were labeled as high-risk areas as their hospital beds and intensive care units dedicated for COVID-19 patients are nearly full.
The virus' growth rate in Makati City was at 22 percent. Its ICU utilization rate was at 69 percent, while its HCUR was at 70 percent, according to data from the DOH.
San Juan City has administered at least 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 126,000 residents and workers, but the virus' growth rate in Metro Manila's least populated city remained at 10 percent in the past 2 weeks, data showed.
"It is not enough to get vaccinated with just one dose. (Even) if you are fully vaccinated, you still have to follow minimum public health standards," De Guzman said.
"Ang bakuna ay isa lamang sa preventive measures... Then there is also the presence of [COVID-19's] Alpha and Beta variants," she said, referring to strains of the virus that are more contagious.
Vaccinated people should continue to wear face masks and face shields, observe physical distancing and avoid areas with large crowds, the Health official said.
De Guzman also told Metro Manila local governments to start preparing more beds for COVID-19 patients in case of another spike in infections.
"This is the time to start shoring up their ICU beds, their ward beds. So, in case na magtuloy-tuloy ito, hindi tayo aabot sa critical ulit (this continues, we will not reach the critical level again)," she said.
In its latest COVID-19 bulletin issued on Monday, the DOH said 42 percent of ICU beds in the NCR are utilized, so are 37 percent of isolation beds, 32 percent of ward beds, and 30 percent of ventilators.
Nationwide, Davao region, Western Visayas and the Cordillera Administrative Region remain in the high risk category, data showed.
Growth of the virus in Davao slowed to 9 percent in the last 2 weeks, from from 31 percent, but ICUs in the region were 81 percent full, while health care utilization rate was still at 64.86 percent.
In Western Visayas, growth in cases was at 3 percent, but ICUs are 87 percent full, according to data from the DOH
Growth in cases in Cordillera rose to 10 percent from -8 percent, while ICUs are 68 percent full.
ICUs in Iloilo City are nearly full at 96 percent, while 82 percent of similar beds in Aklan are already occupied.
While tourist have Boracay is part of Aklan, De Guzman said tourism activity is not the primary driver of the spread of the virus i several provinces.
"The presence of super spreading events" like social gatherings and the lack of minimum public heath standards spur the rise of cases in the regions, De Guzman said.
"We cannot be complacent. We don't want to lose what we gained," she said.
As of July 12, the Philippines has 49,128 active cases of COVID-19, according to data from the DOH.